California to require insurance discounts for property owners who reduce wildfire risk
A bill introduced in California’s state legislature today by Democratic state Sen. Lou Correa would require insurance companies to pass along any fire damage liability reduction discount the state provides to fire-prone property owners in order to receive payment for losses caused by a wildfire.
The measure, known as SB 1201, was drafted in response to state and local officials’ repeated calls for this insurance tax to be used to fund wildfire recovery and prevention, but Correa has said that he’s seeking more than an allocation of money for this purpose—he wants the money allocated to a firefighting account.
The bill would require the insurance company that provided the premium for a property to make a payment to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which would in turn transfer those funds to an account managed by Cal Fire for use in fire prevention and firefighting activities.
The bill also directs the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, if it has excess funds at the end of a year, to use any of those funds to purchase insurance for wildfire risk reduction or mitigation activities.
“It’s time for our leaders and our voters to recognize the damage that wildfires can cause to the most vital infrastructure in our communities,” Correa said in a press release today. “Not only do many of our homes and businesses succumb to fires, but millions of Californians are now living in neighborhoods or communities that have experienced significant loss in value due to wildfires.”
“My bill focuses on wildfire management by preventing these losses,” he said.
“The idea of reducing the financial cost of these fires is a key part of our long-term wildfire mitigation and recovery effort, and a key part of our commitment to protecting our most valuable assets throughout our state,” said state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles. “Our